Talk about a good investment requiring only a little bit of money and a (good) bit of time. Over the last couple of weekends, I finally talked Andy into helping me refinish our back deck! To give you an idea of how bad it looked, the main reason Andy was so hesitant to do this, is because he believed the deck was in such horrible condition that anyone who bought our house would just tear it down. Boy, has he changed his mind!
To be honest, our deck was in REALLY bad condition… Not to mention that it was the same hideous color as our house, only way worse because it is a deck.
I wanted to really make sure this fix was done properly, so the first thing I did was borrow my sister’s huge pressure washer. Unfortunately, after hauling the huge thing from Athens to Atlanta, we realized that it was not producing any pressure. So back to Athens it went for a trip to the shop. Instead, I bought a gallon of Behr deck cleaner and poured it into the backpack sprayer we have for killing weeds. When I sprayed it all over the deck, it quickly foamed up and turned white wherever there was dirt… AKA the whole deck foamed up.
Time to scrubba dub dub! I used a long arm, strong bristle brush to enthusiastically scrub the entire deck once I had let the deck cleaner marinate for a while. I had to spray water ever few minutes to wash away the dirt and grime and reactivate the solution.
Definitely back breaking work but it did the job! While originally blending in with the dirt and grime, it quickly became apparent that a lot of the original paint had disappeared from the boards and that some boards were in much worse shape than others.
Luckily, nothing a couple new boards and a fresh coat of solid stain couldn’t fix! I tested the new stain on the soon to be torn out built in bench. These benches are actually no longer in code, and as we never used it anyhow, it seemed like a good idea to dispose of it. The stain is Behr Premium, Weather Proofing Wood Stain, Solid Color, in chocolate brown. I did a lot of researching before deciding on this product. I looked at the Behr Deck Over and the Rustoleum Restore products, but both had pretty horrible reviews relating to peeling after the first year or so. The solid stain that I used goes on almost like paint, but it much less likely to peel. After just one coat my deck looked like a completely new deck!
Unfortunately, removing the bench was a little more difficult than we had imagined. The builders had decided it would be a great idea to nail the bench directly into the fiber wood siding, creating a lot of rot behind it. Which lead us to decide to replace all of the back siding with durable Hardie Plank. But that is a post for another day, so stay tuned!
The stairs were also in need of the shoring up. The cement footing for the stairs had not been properly grounded, so overtime it has slid down the hill – taking the stairs with it! So while Andy lifted up the base of the stairs, I twisted the stairs back into place with some very graceful pulling and pushing. We temporarily shored it up with wooden slats underneath the posts, however as one side is no longer on the cement footing, we will have to box it out and re-pour cement to create a new and properly grounded base. The bottom stair had also rotted, so we added extra support and then boxed it in to hide the extra beams.
While always more work than expected, DIY projects always make me happy! I’m not going to lie, hand painting this deck was a pain. All those posts are very tedious! And after rolling the slats, you have to come back with a paint brush and paint in between the boards. But for very little cost ($200) and a good bit of labor, we now have a deck that looks brand new and a thousand times better! Talk about curb appeal 🙂